Margo Berdeshevsky







Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look! *

Zealous for that seed, a word that might erupt in springtime.

Yearning for lightening. Un-painting midnight.

X might mark a spot for such a one, may his name be written,

may it replace the dead, one fierce word — of grace—.

Wednesday’s child full of grace, be born before we surrender to this nation.

Vagrant idea:


Un-maker of America’s pall, one, to turn rivers of blood back to water.

Those are pearls that were his eyes …*  

Such a one. A resistant? A candidate? A newborn? A warrior?

Another blood-lost corpse?

Reorder the page of names, sequence reversed and replaced.

Quell the gun and its iron hands, the Congress and its glutton corpus:

Child, child, child, be born!

Parents, can you sleep? Promise to turn a nation’s vile tide to retreat.

Or who among us will imagine one child who did not die on Wednesday?

Whose child turns in her sleep?

Nation of white hoods and guns and wars and true believers,

Murderers, and each willing servant of — a —


Nation of —

Killing and its men’s game. Rotted with its blind-bullets-shame, its

Jewels that were their sight, fractured by a faux list of pride.

Instead, name after name of no child’s

Holy open eyes, spoken. Backwards, as an inverted alphabet.

None will

Grow tall, now — no blood flows backwards to a body shot. And stilled.

Fractured abecedarium characters that start a name: All will fail.

None will rise.

Each or any name on the spoken page, will remain. Not rules or any of the

Dead. Not theirs—Not ours—can. Not now. Not each.

Not any,

Carved by bullets into each descent of their breaths.

Bathe the bodies, close the eyes, bury their bloods — as though

the  sequence of an alphabet or a life might be reversed.

Against the rules.  As Though The  Sequence of An Alphabet Could—



* Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look! —

{William Shakespeare/Ariel’s song in The tempest }  


 {an abecedarium, broken, in reverse, dedicated to the children alive and dead, in Parkland, Florida and  ever after….}



Margo Berdeshevsky/2018





Soleil cou coupé  —Apollinaire


While they whispered of frayed days like knots

on an old nun’s robe-tie, her nakedness hidden

under dark cloth


While they lunched on garlic snails blessed

one afternoon by the Seine— one

with a lover’s arms to bed in that night, one

with none, but Paris…


While they whispered sham & disaster of

presidents, the bomb that almost but

didn’t kill last night the darker-eyed of the two

begged the other read Levis “The Drowned


and the Saved” — while each knew it

was such a Tuesday, such a November to

choose or not to if not this afternoon

next week


While the lighter-eyed one swerved a bee from

her face and the other swatted it from hers until

each cringed to not be stung, one

lifted her empty wine glass knowing how to


capture a bee in flight & stifle, trapped it

between tablecloth & overturned bell jar, it

bleated they didn’t hear its cry inside, it kicked

thin legs & turned over & turned over its


gold body while they whispered of ends

of time & one of them kept looking at it dying

not stinging them & when she couldn’t watch

the dying any longer, slid the glass & its capture


toward the table’s edge act of mercy act of shame

& the glass tipped, fell, the bee fell out the slipped

glass shattered & the waiter watched

& he applauded —



Margo Berdeshevsky

(Previously Published in Before the Drought”/ Glass Lyre Press/2017 )






Soleil cou coupé  –Apollinaire


Dans leurs messes basses de jours usés jusqu’à la corde

telle une ceinture boulochée de vieille nonne nudité cachée

sous sa nuit de bure


Devant leurs escargots à l’ail et la bénédiction

d’un après-midi en bord de Seine ––l’une avant

sa nuit dans les bras d’un amant, l’autre sans

rien, sauf Paris


alors qu’à mi-voix elles parlaient présidents

bidon et catastrophiques, de bombe qui a failli

tuer hier soir, que celle dont l’œil est plus noir

voulait que l’autre lise les Naufragés et les Rescapés


de Primo Levi–– alors que l’une et l’autre savaient bien

que c’était un de ces mardis, de ces novembre à prendre

ou à laisser sinon cet après-midi

la semaine prochaine


Alors que l’œil-plus-clair évitait une abeille

sur son visage et que l’autre la chassait d’une taloche,

que l’une et l’autre se rencognaient devant l’aiguillon, l’une

a levé son verre de vin vide qui savait attraper


une abeille en plein vol et l’asphyxier, l’a coincée

entre nappe et cloche, et elles de rester là sourdes

aux bêlements de la bestiole qui agitait ses pattes

maigrichonnes, se retournait et roulait sur


son corps doré tandis que continuaient les messes basses

sur les fins du monde, jusqu’à que celle qui ne cessait

de la regarder mourir sans avoir piqué, n’en pouvant plus

de son agonie, ait fait glisser verre et prisonnière


jusqu’au bord de la table fait acte de contrition

fait basculer le verre et tomber l’abeille délivrée dans

les éclats par terre sous l’œil du garçon

qui applaudit––



Margo Berdeshevsky  /2017

Traduction de Jean Migrenne 

(Previously published in Siècle 21 N° 30, printemps 2017)




Rape of America. So, It Appears

Too like those who’ve eaten the food of the dead

—they may not return to a world of the living—


Too like Persephone seized by underworld’s soot-horsed god,

America, raped by tower-men fat with iced sperm & testosterone


Too like Mandelstam’s Petropolis where we will leave only bone— we too

drink the air of death, too like that ancient rape—told & told.


Myth’s pomegranate seeds choked down under a mad god’s fist

too like lies we are force-fed at dawn & dusk & dark


Too like impressionists’ mute edges, stained light, spilled—

Too like lost babies in webs of thorns, left to crawl blind—


Those left, like coal after its fires      will rise like dust from

ash     remembering everything.


Rape of America? Yes, kings of underworlds kings of towers

— dust from ash.     When the fires die, crawl blind.


May you die hungry.

May you feast on the food of the dead.



Margo Berdeshevsky/2017

(Previously published in Plume)




Le viol de l’Amérique. Du pareil au même :


Trop mangeurs des viandes des morts

––interdits de retour au monde des vivants––


Trop Perséphone forcée par le dieu infernal aux chevaux de suie,

Amérique, violée par des gars de ciel leur testostérone et semence de glace


Trop Pétropolis à la Mandelstam où de nous ne restera que de l’os –– nous aussi

à boire l’air de mort, trop comme ce viol antique––barde après barde.


Mythologiques pépins de grenade sous le poing gaveur d’un dieu fou

trop mensonges intubés ingurgités de fin à début de nuit noire


Trop contours sans voix,  éclats de lumière entachée à l’impressionniste––

Trop bébés égarés rampant sur toiles d’épines, abandonnés sans yeux––


Les poussières d’holocauste     debout en vent de sable ressusciteront

des cendres     mémoire intacte.


Viol de l’Amérique ? Oui, rois des enfers rois des gratte-ciels

––les cendres se lèvent.     Finis les feux, vous ramperez les yeux crevés.


Allez crever la faim au ventre !

Allez vous repaître des viandes des morts !



Margo Berdeshevsky  /2017

 (inédit) Traduction de Jean Migrenne 















MARGO BERDESHEVSKY, born in New York city, often writes and lives in Paris. Before The Drought, her newest collection, is from Glass Lyre Press, September 2017. (In an early version, it was finalist for the National Poetry Series.) Berdeshevsky is author as well of Between Soul & Stone, and But a Passage in Wilderness, (Sheep Meadow Press.) Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough, received the first Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award for Fiction Collective Two (University of Alabama Press.) Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America, a portfolio of her poems in the Aeolian Harp Anthology #1 (Glass Lyre Press,) the & Now Anthology of the Best of Innovative Writing, and numerous Pushcart Prize nominations. Her works appear in the American journals: Poetry International, New Letters, Kenyon Review, Plume, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Southern Humanities Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, Jacar Press—One, among many others. In Europe her works have been seen in The Poetry Review (UK) The Wolf, Europe, Siècle 21, & Confluences Poétiques. A multi genre novel, Vagrant, and a hybrid of poems, Square Black Key, wait at the gate. She may be found reading from her books in London, Paris, New York City, Los Angeles, or somewhere new in the world. Her Letters from Paris may be found in Poetry International, here:


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